True Grit: The Real Challenges of Building a Homestead

I love sharing nifty homesteading ideas with you, showing you how to complete a homestead project and empowering you to begin homesteading yourself, but as I sit here this evening, watching Beauty and the Beast with my kiddos, I have something a little more personal on my heart.

I love Disney movies, I mean LOOOOOVE, and know nearly every word to every song. Like many girls, I’ve always identified pretty strongly with Belle’s character and her lack of enthusiasm over her “provincial life”. And I still do, although, admittedly, I long for a french village, an inventor father and a beautiful stallion named Phillipe, the life I long to escape is one where people are afraid of people who take risks or think outside the box. No matter the scenery, toxic people are toxic people and the mundane can feel very oppressive if you don’t feel challenged, supported or understood.

I don’t claim for a second to have my life together. I really don’t have a clue what I’m doing and I’m nothing if not confident in that assertion. I just happen to have mounds of research on homesteading and a resounding feeling of happiness when I’m engaged in my endeavors. Sure, I miss having a steady paycheck but, for the most part, I’m satisfied with the path I’ve chosen. Except when I’m not.

I share my journey with you, my gracious and loyal readers because, while I want to empower you to follow your heart, I also know that this path can be a very lonely one. One that makes you question if you have enough grit, if you’re making the right decisions for your children and your future, and fills you, sometimes with guilt and self-doubt.

If you’re like me and you’re on this path alone, know that there will be people who will misunderstand homesteading or don’t care to learn why it makes your eyes light up. You’ll find that there will be naysayers and negative Nancy’s at every turn. From the contractors or inspectors who shoot down your alternative building plans, to the family members who scoff or poke fun at your hard work, not everyone will respond with wonder and jubilation at your innovation and ingenuity. You’ll likely feel discouraged and isolated at times no matter how proud you are of your efforts. Without support, it can be hard to hold on to hope.

Even as I am writing this, I, too, am struggling with situations that are testing my fortitude. When I first began, the optimism of a new journey carried me through the days that I shared my dreams and received laughs and looks of concern in return. Now that I have invested my last dollar and all of my hope, integrity and dignity into my homestead and blog and I look around at all there is left to do, all that has yet to produce income or food and I worry that I won’t have what it takes to see it through.

Will people continue to read what I write? Will my garden be successful and provide us with a steady source of food AND income? Will I be able to pay my bills? Will I be successful in spite of all those who who thought I’d fail?

And in my heart of hearts, I know the answer is YES! Why? Because this path makes me happy. Yea, happiness is not static and it comes and goes like the tides but when I think of what I’m doing, what I’m making with my own two hands, I feel a sense of peace and purpose. On an environmental level, I am lessening my carbon footprint every day. I am being a good steward to Mother Earth. I am replenishing what I am taking. On a personal level, I am a living example to my kids and those in my inner circle of how to live in harmony with nature. I am making healthier food choices. I’m being intentional in my choices at every turn. I’ve felt more alive in the last 3 months than I have in two years. I sleep better. I can stand the silence. I am in control of my life.

While that last statement can be both freeing and scary, we all make choices, where we can, in order to exert control over our lifestyle. In a world where so much of our life is dictated for us, homesteading gives us a choice in what we eat, how we live and, perhaps most importantly, how closely we live in alignment with our values. It is, in my opinion, the highest form of integrity; to both live and believe in the life we have built. A spiritual decision, if you will.

So, if you’re sitting there feeling forlorn and questioning your decisions, know this: tomorrow is another day. The sun will rise, the snow will melt, the mud will dry and your homestead will still be there. There will be work to be done, steady as the season’s change. The question isn’t whether you have what it takes, the question is will you show up for your life every day like it does for you? After all, this is YOUR life, no one else’s.

Peace, Love and Cheesecake!

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4 Replies to “True Grit: The Real Challenges of Building a Homestead

  1. This is an inspirational piece for anyone. And keep at it! You’re going to do it.
    And who doesn’t want to live in a French village? I’d eat so much fresh bread every day all day.

    1. Love you too, Norm! Hey, I had a reader recognize me from my blog at the Town and Country Fair last night and me and the kids all felt like celebrities! I couldn’t stop grinning and saying thank you. I’m so lucky to have such loyal followers!

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